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It’s cooking day. Rami had four pots simmering on the stove after a morning of a round of the shops. First the vegetable truck, the newest baskets overflowing with beautiful bundles of dark green kale, then the butcher for meat for stocks and soups. The mum was slicing chicken through the back door. “Not raining at least for a moment!” She hollered out as a greeting. Up the street we passed the little shops selling sweaters and antiques, a restaurant was setting up for lunch and we commented on how the fruit store on this street stayed open much later than anyone closer to us. We’d have to remember. We browsed the books on the tables under the archways at the pop-up “market” in Liberta and stopped to have a coffee while Luna got too much attention at the cafe. Up to Sara’s for all types of breads and pastries. Desserts for after a dinner of soups and stews.

At home, the windows fogged as the stovetop steamed and the smells rose from the pots and danced in our kitchen as the end of our weeks-long Harry Potter marathon echoed on the television, and then we realized we had forgotten to get pepper. Out again into the thankfully-rainless skies, Manuela at the tabacchi was out of pepper so it was off to the actual grocery store. I rushed through the aisles under the fluorescent light, wanting to get it over with. At the checkout, I checked my phone. “Get sage too!” Rami had written. It was too late to go back. I’d have to go through the whole place again. Instead, I walked out and down the street, remembering the fruit and veggie vendor.

The wooden crates outside the door were full of pears and apples in beds of orange oak leaves. I walked in and two women that absolutely knew each other were chatting away as one waited for her cuts of cheese. The other ordered radishes and four lemons. Then it was my turn. “A bit of sage, please.” And I was handed a few fresh branches, wrapped in a paper bag, twenty cents, and I was walking home. I could’ve avoided the supermarket all-together if I was just a bit earlier and the tea and coffee store would have been open down the street for the pepper, but overall, it was a local-shopping, local food everyday life in Italy. As another round of rain started to set in, we sipped our soup and set a pot of water to boil for tea.

 

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